Review: RONIN ISLAND #1 And Why We’re Stronger Together


A BOOM! Studios original story filled with the epic clash of civilizations in a world of samurais.
- Advertisement -

The creative minds of Greg Pak and Giannis Milonogiannis have introduced RONIN ISLAND, an engaging story centered on a group of displaced peoples from China, Japan and Korea. Issue #1 follows two brash samurai students as they learn to overcome their animosity towards one another and work together. Their struggle underlies a deeper unrest within the community as they seek to forge a collective identity amid cultural conflict.

Ronin Island cover artwork


Many writers struggle to define their characters at the beginning of a new series, but Pak is up to the challenge. The issue dives right into characterization from the get-go, presenting concise backstories for its two main characters: Hana and Kenichi. Readers learn Hana, an orphan, comes from a poor farming community while Kenichi hails from a prestigious line of samurai warriors. The only bigger clash than these distinct backgrounds is their competitive personalities.

Kenichi speaking with his mother Hana speaking with worker on the farm

- Advertisement -

A big theme in this story is multiculturalism, which is wonderfully emphasized by the village’s mantra: “Together in Strength.” Hana and Kenichi struggle to apply this motto during a samurai trial. One can feel the frustration in both characters as they let loose their preconceived prejudices. They eventually find that it’s much more difficult to succeed when cutting the other person down. The challenge ultimately shows the students the importance of embracing differences and coming together; that is where one finds true strength.

samurai race start

The samurai trial serves as a foreshadow for an impending threat, one bigger than they’ve ever faced. And their only hope of survival lies in the words of a mysterious stranger.

This story wonderfully underscores the very real human fear of the “other.” Readers will find new BOOM! Studios’ favorites in Hana, Kenichi and the others as they face their fears in the coming issues.


Milonogiannias’ penciling creates a solid structure for the issues artwork while the collaborative work of Irma Knivila and Simon Bowland bring it to life. The vast landscapes of the island are coupled with highly-detailed houses and buildings to provide the reader with an authentic East Asian setting. Knivila uses variations of brown and green to emphasize the community’s dependence on the island’s natural environment. In addition, Bowland’s variations in lettering sizes underscore crucial thematic elements, such as the island motto.

The main, preorder, and variant covers give alternative takes on the story in masterfully diverse ways. Milonogiannias’ penciling and Msassyk’s colors give form and structure to the main cover by highlighting the determined looks of its main characters.

Ethan Young’s preorder cover depicts the story’s East Asian setting with monochromatic shades to bring to mind peacefulness and traditional art from the time period. The variant covers offer unique interpretations as well; David Lafuente and Germán García’s version focuses on the coming conflict while Kris Anka’s emphasizes each of the protagonist’s weapon of choice.

RONIN ISLAND #1 variant cover


RONIN ISLAND #1 offers an engaging story with highly relatable characters. Themes of multiculturalism and diversity abound, making this one of the most fitting tales of our modern time.

Are you looking forward to issue #2? What do you think of the threat? Let us know in the comments below!

Save 50% on graphic novels, statues & more!


Meet The Next Guardians Of The Galaxy In BLACK PANTHER AND THE AGENTS OF WAKANDA #1

You might not know a lot about the Agents of Wakanda right now but it’s only a matter of time before some of them become breakout stars. 

Review: PANDEMICA #1 Throws Us Towards Armageddon

Pandemica is a refreshing take on an apocalyptic narrative and it’s obsession with the build-up gives it an edge over other comics in the same genre.

How STEEPLE #1 Launches a New Series

Steeple #1 is the dynamic start to an all-new series full of demons, monsters, and a priest in training. The idiosyncratic nature is sure to delight readers.

Review: DEAD END KIDS #3 Will Leave You Needing Tissues

With the concluding issue, DEAD END KIDS #3 wraps up its emotional coming-of-age story on a somber, yet high note. Word of warning, you...

Review: The Expansion Never Ends in STRAYED #2

Strayed #2 continues Lou’s tale, providing brilliant artwork and many of the answers to questions fans have been asking about the series.

A Dark and Deadly Tale Begins In NOMEN OMEN #1

Nomen Omen #1 is the start of a dark and disturbing series from Image Comics. It's a tale of the supernatural coming after what is their due, and so much more.

Review: POWERS OF X #4: The Introduction Of The Sassiest Sinister

Jonathon Hickman’s House of X and Powers of X stories are proving to be classics and Powers of X #4 is no exception. Hickman’s...

Review: SILVER SURFER: BLACK #4 – Cataclysmic & Calamitous Intent

Silver Surfer: Black #4, out this week from Marvel comics, dives deeper into the origin of Galactus. This issue is an absolutely gorgeous cosmic adventure...
Corey Patterson
A comic book nerd and reviewer with a special interest in the underlying themes of superhero, sci-fi and fantasy stories. He enjoys writing for Monkeys Fighting Robots, Pop Culture and Theology and other publications.


If you want your BUSINESS to be part of something bigger than itself, you might be a good fit to partner with Monkeys Fighting Robots.

Review: RONIN ISLAND #1 And Why We're Stronger Together 3


Review: RONIN ISLAND #1 And Why We're Stronger Together 4

Are you a creator looking for a review of your book?
Use the form below to end us a message.

Are you a fan of the website and have a comment, question, or concern? Drop us a line, and we will gladly answer all your questions.


Monkeys Fighting Robots is looking for passionate writers to drive the site’s coverage of the comic book industry. Authors will be responsible for a particular niche, providing reviews, opinion and news coverage, while building a reader community using his or her multimedia storytelling skills. The best candidates have solid writing skills, WordPress knowledge, and are engaged on social media. Do you love comic books and have a strong opinion, then we would like to speak with you.

Review: RONIN ISLAND #1 And Why We're Stronger Together 5


COMIC REVIEW DIGEST, sign up today! At Monkeys Fighting Robots, we strive to talk about ALL aspects of a comic book, instead of just giving you a recap of the story.
  • Did you notice how epic the colors were?
  • That was a wicked panel layout by the artist!
  • What was the letterer thinking?
  • How did this comic book make you feel?
  • Most importantly, should you buy it?

Every Wednesday you will receive an email with our latest reviews and analyses, as well as our original comic strips and exclusive editorial content.
Thanks for signing up!